'Coriolanus' is perhaps the most brilliant political play ever written. Set in Ancient Rome, it remains a gripping psychological study of the relationship between personality and politics. The introduction to this new edition considers Shakespeare's adaptation of his historical material (Plutarch's Lives) in relation to the social and political conditions in London and Stratford at the time of the play's composition, also offering new evidence that it was written in 1608. Professor Parker examines the play's history and particularly its staging at the Blackfriars theatre, where it was probably the first of Shakespeare's plays to be presented and for which it may have been written. A thorough commentary pays special attention to the needs of actors and directors.